Miami is all about the beaches, but while you are getting your fill of sand and sun, you are going to find that Miami has so much to offer that you are going to have to take a permanent vacation there to take it all in.
Miami does not end, but certainly does begin with its beaches. You might look around when planning your trips at what and who is ranked in terms of beaches, parties and fun, and trust me, after you visit the beaches of Miami, you will realize that within the United States these beaches are far and away the best. There are plenty of beaches to choose from - well kept up, family friendly, a great variety of activities and just gorgeous water. Combine that with the fact that you have numerous restaurants and bars nearby and you are set. You certainly want to get your fill of beaches when you are visiting Miami, but don’t let it monopolize your time, as there are countless other places to see.
Right off of the beach, you are going to find plenty of bars and restaurants that are going to offer up a great party atmosphere, but no one does a better job of giving you the true South Beach experience than Mango’s Tropical Café. They have truly perfected the party atmosphere. The Mango Dancers are always out in the crowd or on stage putting on an amazing show that really energizes the crowd, and don’t be surprised if they grab you to give you a little impromptu dance lesson right on the spot. In addition, Mango’s offers up the best Mojitos on South Beach to go along with a wide variety of exotic drinks. Mango’s has three different rooms for private parties and they offer a great dining experience as well. If you are looking for a fun time, this is one spot you must visit while in Miami.
Don't let your night end there, the other nightclub you must hit before the sun starts coming up is "The Fifth." Featuring two floors of sheer decadence, three bars and two VIP sections, "The Fifth" is the ultimate when it comes to giving you an upscale feeling and a nightclub that you just never know what will happen or who you will see as marketing genius Gerry Kelly has a long list of superstar friends who make regular visits to his club.
Lincoln Road is one of the must visit spots while you are in Miami. You could literally go back everyday, enjoy a new restaurant each time, get in some great shopping as you make your way down the twelve blocks that make up Lincoln Road as you follow the sidewalk that takes your directly to the gorgeous beaches by foot.
The Ice Box Café is located right off of Lincoln Road and it is worth looking for. The Ice Box is always changing its menu to come up with new and original dishes and they never fail to delight its diners. The true test of a restaurant is the opinions of people who live in the area and the Ice Box Café is loved by the locals. The Ice Box is a great place to start your day on Lincoln Road, as they always have a great take on French toast, pancakes and eggs, and brunch at here is one of the most poplar spots at Lincoln Road. Even if you don’t plan on dining at the Ice Box, make sure you stop over to pick up some of the most amazing pastries in the United States; this is really what they are famous for.
Staying on Lincoln Road, as you make your way into the evening, Santo Supper Club is a great way to finish out your day and maybe take you into the next morning. Executive Chef Ben Tansey has put together a menu that most definitely will give you a Miami feel, with a very strong Latin influence. The menu offers up a number of great dishes, but Chef Tansey does an amazing job on the fish dishes, always finding the perfect sauces and ingredients to give you a truly original flavor. One last tip while dining, make sure to take advantage of what is the best group of martinis, not only in Miami, but anywhere, these are a true treat. Stick around after dinner or enjoy a little more of Lincoln Road and come back, as Santo turns into not only a lounge at midnight, but the lounge that was voted “One of The Ten Sexiest Places In North America” by Playboy Magazine and “Best Weekly Party” by Miami New Times. Santo offers up a variety of music depending on the night, anything from a DJ playing an assortment of music to live music nights that offer up some great local musicians.
Being in Miami, the one experience that you are not going to find many other places is the “Swim With Our Dolphins” package offered at the Miami Seaquarium. This two-hour program first teaches you about these mammals and prepares you for the fun part, actually getting in the water with them. The trainers then take you into the water and assist you as you actually swim with the dolphins, play games and feed them, truly an experience you will treasure the rest of your life. If you don’t want to swim with the dolphins, the Seaquarium is still a great spot to visit as they offer a number of shows throughout the day. The Seaquarium also gives you and up close view of some amazing aqua life.
Sticking with the Miami theme, the Dolphin Mall is another great shopping experience that if you want a day away from the beach with plenty to do this is the place to go. They offer over 240 shops and restaurants, and also Strike Miami, a 34-lane bowling alley, a Dave & Busters as well as a theater complex, so if you have kids, this is one place that they certainly will never get bored at. The Dolphin Mall also has special incentives for out-of-area visitors.
Coconut Grove is another experience all by itself. If you are looking for a little change of pace in your dining experience, Panorama offers an amazing Peruvian based menu that will get your taste buds kick started with its South American based spicy flavor. What you will enjoy almost as much as the food, is the view from the 8th floor of the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel. This unmatched setting in Miami lets you overlook the ocean and if you dine outside you will catch a wonderful and relaxing ocean breeze. A great place to stay as well, with a pool and bar in the same perfect setting right next to the restaurant.
One of the not so publicized and under appreciated aspects of Miami is the art, design and architecture that is prominent. These make for some great sight-seeing, you can visit Ocean Drive and see all of the Art Deco architecture, the Miami Design District and in North Miami you have the Museum of Contemporary Art. I would plan almost an entire day to try and take in all of this and it will be worth it, you will really appreciate all of the talented work that you see.
Miami is a great experience, but one of the fun things about this trip should be not to make too many plans, because just driving around and finding one of the many different spots that will lead you to a fun-filled day will really enhance your experience.
For more information on Mango’s Tropical Café, visit: www.mangostropicalcafe.com
For more information on the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel and the Panorama Restaurant, visit: www.sonesta.com
For more details on planning your visit to Miami and the numerous activities not mentioned in this article, visit: www.MiamiAndBeaches.com